This Haitian Heritage Month, we learn five facts on the shared early histories of the U.S. and Haiti, the first and second oldest republics in the Western Hemisphere.

Did you know...

  1. Haitian-born New Yorker Pierre Toussaint was a noted 18th and 19th century philanthropist, who is slated to become North America's first Black saint.

    Undated portrait of Pierre Toussaint, image from Columbia University Archives

    Undated photo of Pierre Toussaint (Columbia University Archives)
     
  2. Hundreds of free Haitian men fought on the American side in the siege of Savannah during the American Revolutionary War in 1779.

    Siege of Savannah

    "Attack on Savannah," by A. I. Keller (public domain)
     
  3. The Louisiana Purchase was facilitated by the Haitian Revolution. It was prompted by Napoleon's loss of liberated Haiti, which caused the French leader to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803.

    Louisiana Purchase

    Undated map illustrating the Louisiana Purchase (public domain)
     
  4. Free Haitians of color helped to double the population of New Orleans in the early 19th century, when 10,000 moved to the city by the end of the first decade of the 1800s.

    Likeness of a Haitian man and woman

    Undated illustration of a Haitian man and woman (Louisiana State Museum)
     
  5. Frederick Douglass was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Haiti by President Benjamin Harrison, serving from 1889 until 1891.

    Portrait of Frederick Douglass circa 1879

    Portrait of Frederick Douglass, circa 1879 (public domain)